I was born in Montreal, Quebec and lived there for about five years before I moved to Cary, North Carolina. Growing up, my older sister and I were always volunteering for Pakistani cultural events to stay close to our Pakistani heritage and roots. As a child, these events helped me become more confident in presenting, dancing, and singing in front of large crowds, and allowed me to venture out of the innate shyness I had always carried with me. Along with volunteering, my other hobbies soon became reading, painting, dancing, writing, and traveling.
After high school, I applied to Meredith College in Raleigh, NC and had the privilege of calling home for the next four years. At this liberal arts all-women’s college, I learned more than I could have ever asked for from mentors, professors, advisors, staff, and fellow students. I pursued a major in biological science, with minors in psychology and chemistry. During my sophomore year, I took a course at the Meredith Autism Program, which ignited a spark for my interest in occupational therapy.
Following graduation, I took a gap year to gain work experience at Dynamic Therapy for Kids and A Small Miracle, Inc. and to apply for graduate study in occupational therapy. I will begin an MS/OTD program of study at the University of Illinois at Chicago this August; I could not be more excited and grateful to start my journey at UIC. My future goals are to actively engage in helping to manage innovative pediatric research projects, while situated in practice, and to teach at the university level. To achieve these goals, I will join the CPERL team as a graduate research assistant. During my time at CPERL, I will be helping to coordinate a newly funded multi-site project from the American Occupational Therapy Foundation, to examine the feasibility of a web-based care planning guide for use by caregivers of young children with disabilities.